Coffee Talk: French Press

A few years ago, I heard about French press coffee, and some friends made some for me–it was strong, but I didn’t really notice anything that set it apart from normal drip coffee. Last week when I visited Dark Horse coffee, I had my second experience with French Press and it was amazing. I mentioned in last Friday’s post that it was the best cup of coffee I ever had. It made me determined to try French press at home! The stars aligned when a neighbor in our complex who works for Starbucks hooked us up with a partial bag of limited-edition coffee (Casi Cielo). It was ground specifically for French press (which means the grounds are coarser) so he also lent us his press so we could make it properly.

French Press

Learning to do French press is hard! We should have looked up instructions online–it would have saved us a lot of time (and coffee grounds!) if I had proceed with some sort of guidance. Let me explain: when I make coffee in my Mr. Coffee, I use more than one tablespoon scoop for each cup of coffee I make. For example, if I fill it up to the “4” line, I use 4.5 or 5 tablespoons of coffee. With a French press you do NOT need to do this! My first go-around I used 8 scoops and the end result was like MUD! It was undrinkable. Since the grounds steep in the boiling water, more like tea would do, the coffee is much stronger and you don’t need to use as much. We dumped the first batch and made the second batch with 4 scoops. Much better. Which brings me to my next point–I think this is much more economical! Where I would use 6-8 scoops in my Mr Coffee, I only used 4 in the Bodum and it was much stronger, more robust, and complex.

French Press

So, as far as I’ve figured it out… here is how to make French press coffee.

  • Boil water in a kettle.
  • Scoop your grounds into the glass.
  • (edited to update–let water sit for a moment so it is not actively boiling. too hot will distort the flavor!)
  • Add water to the grounds, give a little stir.
  • Let them sit for about 4 minutes
  • Then press the plunger down–the screen will separate the grounds from the coffee.
  • Enjoy!

Fellow coffee fiends, feel free to weigh in with any recommendations or funny stories in the comments! As a French press newbie, I’m sure I have a lot to learn from you.

I have a fun non-coffee-related post planned for tomorrow, but come back on Monday for a continuation of my coffee adventures… my experience with a pour-over! 

Take a Tour: Dark Horse

Last Monday, Angela and I decided to explore my old stomping grounds of Adams Avenue. My first apartment in San Diego was on Adams and it would be a nice neighborhood to move back to someday. Since I left, there have been a lot of great changes on Adams including restaurants and shops, the newest of which we stumbled upon–Dark Horse Coffee Roasters. They’ve only been open for two weeks!

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

The owner, Daniel, is congenial and very easy to talk to. Any feelings of intimidation that I normally have when visiting a hip new establishment vanished–I could tell he is dedicated to his quality coffee and the success of his store.

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

The most fabulous thing, to me, is that he DIYed the whole interior of the store himself. Being a design geek, I ate it all up. The wood-paneled wall, the coffee bar facing the window–the counter, everything was DIY. He was eager to share his secrets as well–he explained how he made the wood-paneled wall in a way that even a novice DIYer could feel confident replicating. The chalkboard paint trend was represented in a tasteful, limited, and totally functional way. And how awesome is his accent color of mint green on the counter? It totally keeps the place looking fresh, balancing out the earthy wood tones!

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

The narrow bar facing the window was a great way to maximize the limited square footage. In the space that would have accommodated just another 2-person round table, he managed to fit room for 4 seats–or a casual place to lean while waiting to order.

The branding was not only consistent but cost-effective. He has a few different rubber stamp designs, which he used to decorate the bar, the trim, bags, and even cups. By buying plain wares and customizing them himself, not only is a handcrafted feel created, but money is also saved. Think of the other businesses who can take a cue from this method!

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters

You won’t find espresso offerings here–just craft coffee–but Daniel was friendly enough to explain the difference between a pour-over and a French press. I had a French press and Doug had a pour over–the flavor of both options was out of this world. Monday, I literally had the flavor in my mouth all day–the best cup of coffee I have ever had! I couldn’t wait to pop back in Wednesday to take these photos and get another cup!

If you’d like to go, the address is 3260 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA. For more info, follow Dark Horse on facebook!

Check out some of my other tours by clicking here